Stretching in the Sun

Visitors who have only ever seen Symi in the height of the summer season may find it difficult to imagine Yialos totally deserted, a veritable ghost town, but that is how it was on Panormitis Day, Saturday 8 November. With most of the island’s population at Panormitis (see Out and About photographs) and the rest celebrating the Feast of Saint Michael at Roukouniotis and Kokkimidis (the two other major monasteries dedicated to Michael the Archangel), the only movement in the streets and lanes of Yialos and Chorio was the occasional sleepy cat, stretching in the sun.

Sunday, on the other hand, was quite the opposite as the multitudes departed in the ferries, caiques and speed boats plying the waters between Symi and Rhodes and various other Dodecanese islands. Now it is Monday morning and the island has slipped into its usual November mode. The usual groups of Symiot men are sipping coffee and solving the problems of their world at Pachos cafeneion downstairs. With the festival celebrations out of the way and the weather still perfect, fishing and messing about in boats are the order of the day and Dino, the chandler in the lane, has a steady stream of customers. It is time to think about improving anchors and warps for the winter storms and the rattling of chain as lengths are measured off and weighed punctuates the morning calm. The scent of vanilla and nutmeg on the air suggests that the Nikolas Patisserie behind the Symi Visitor Accommodation office is now baking galatoboureka, the Greek answer to custard pie. Another hour or so and the whiff of roasting meat will tell me that the gyros bar by the bridge is ready for lunch. Now that the need for air conditioning has passed and all our windows are open, every day life on Symi is as much an olfactory experience as a visual one!

Tourist shops are now closed for the season and it is only those businesses that supply the needs of the local residents that are still open. Taxas supermarket no longer stocks newspapers and magazines but the Press shop is still up and running, albeit with a more limited stock and, of course, as there are fewer boats, the daily papers are that bit older by the time they reach Symi. However, as time on Symi in the winter moves more languidly than it does elsewhere no one really minds reading day old newspapers.

Have a good week.


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About this Blog

I sailed into Panormitis Bay, Symi, by chance one windy July day in 1993 and have been here ever since. The locals tell me that this is one of the miracles of St Michael of Panormitis. A BA graduate with majors in English, Philosophy and Classical Civilisation, the idea of living in what is to all intents and purposes an archaeological site appeals to me. Not as small as Kastellorizo, not as touristy as Rhodes, Symi is just the right size. I live on a small holding which my husband and I have reclaimed from a ruin of over-grazing and neglect and turned into a small oasis over the course of the past 22 years. I also work part-time for Symi Visitor Accommodation, helping independent travellers discover and enjoy Symi's simple pleasures for themselves.

This page is kindly sponsored by Wendy Wilcox, Symi Visitor Accommodation.

Adriana Shum

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